Especially for SME’s – 37: Time – Aversion for long- term and what we cannot see.

27 April 2022


Mr. Lowe: The human mind is more comfortable and concerned with things they can see or tangible things and short term results and has a preference for immediate and right- now tasks and is more inclined to give priority to urgent jobs over not urgent ones. We are so averse to long term and therefore are susceptible to put non-urgent tasks to in the back burner – even doing nothing at all on these tasks -until a not urgent job becomes critically urgent. We keep postponing doing the not urgent job/ task for very ‘valid’ reasons i.e., keep giving less priority to that task until it becomes no more postpone-able i.e., until the task becomes urgent. So the net result is that so many of us spend most of our time in attending to only urgent, not any more putdownable job; and even a simple job becomes far more tough to do under time pressure. We commit mistakes that we would never have committed when there is no time pressure; we take more time to complete the job than what we would have normally taken. Essentially we reduce ourselves to low effectiveness levels thought we are indeed capable of high effectiveness.

If you want to experience this, call your secretary and dictate a one page news item from a newspaper. Tell her you want the typed copy of the dictation in 3 minutes. Experience what happens. She does mistakes which normally she will never do and to make it right she has to do retyping once again: Look at the bad quality and the additional time to set it right.

Effective people invariably give more weight and importance to long term results and so their minds make them overcome the temptation to do only urgent jobs. They allocate at least half to one hour a day, thinking, doing jobs that are not to be finished that very day and are not meant for that day at all. SME 3: What if we don’t have time at all for tomorrow’s job?

Mr. Lowe: Yes, this happens only because we have had no time at all for tomorrow’s job. Incidentally when anyone says “I am busy or I don’t have time”, we should understand that he attaches lesser priority for the job we are requesting him to do compared with the job he is currently having on his to do list. And normal – not effective- people do not have time for futuristic jobs at all. Doing tomorrow’s job today, doing – at least starting- next week’s job this week, next month’s job today, thinking about next quarters’ job today and next year’s job today and thinking about where my unit will be in the next 3 to 5 years, all belong to this category for which we have to allocate time today and every day. SME 1: You talked about our aversion to what we cannot see. What is that?

Mr. Lowe: In the narrative I said, the short term results are things that you can see and feel long-term things are not that visible as yet, until they also become short-term due to postponement.

SME 3: Yes, now we can understand. And you have also said that what we cannot see is invariably more important than what we can. ……contd.


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